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Liquid Simulation in After Effects

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Dan DonaldsonLiquid Simulation in After Effects
by on Feb 28, 2012 at 6:38:53 pm

Hello. For a project I am doing, I need to simulate cake batter being mixed inside of a bowl. I have heard that you can simulate liquids with Trapcode Particular, but I have no idea how to do this. Another plug-in that has been suggested to me is CC Mr. Mercury, but I have never used that program and have no idea how to create a contained bowl of liquid.

My original idea was to make the cake mix in Illustrator, import it in, and then manipulate it using the Puppet Tool but my hope is that there is an easier method. Thanks,

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Liquid Simulation in After Effects
by on Feb 28, 2012 at 7:38:32 pm

You can use FreeForm (stock plugin with AE) or FreeForm Pro to displace in 3d the cake mix texture by animating a depth map. If you are not familiar with Free Form and how the displacement maps work, here are a few tutorials:

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Kevin CampRe: Liquid Simulation in After Effects
by on Feb 28, 2012 at 9:31:16 pm

i'm not sure the degree of realism you need, but you could try fractal noise, twirl and a colorizing effect like tritone to start getting something that looks like a cake batter 'vortex'.

animating the rotation of the layer, the twirl angle and/or fractal noise evolutions may give the animation that you need.

cc glass on an adjustment layer above the cake batter layer may provide even better results (it has light controls and can give it a shiny sheen). note, you probably want to use the tritone/colorizing effects after the cc glass effect.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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Dave LaRondeRe: Liquid Simulation in After Effects
by on Feb 28, 2012 at 10:00:24 pm

I know you specifically asked about SIMULATING cake batter in a bowl, but I have to tell you: almost always, it's easier to shoot the real thing.

If there's a specific reason why you want to simulate it, that's fine. Otherwise, my story is "Practical Effects!" and I'm stickin' to it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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